A great option for active travelers who want to combine stunning scenery with outdoor adventure. Starting in Split, you'll explore popular Krka National Park and canyon the Cetina River before taking to the sea to discover Hvar Island. You'll hike, paddle, and rappel your way across the southern Dalmatian coast ending your stay in historic Dubrovnik.

Highlights

  • Climb Split's St. Duje's bell tower for striking vistas over the historic town and Adriatic Sea
  • Swim in pristine lakes near waterfalls in Krka National Park
  • Enjoy a day of climbing, rappelling, and cliff jumping the Cetina River Canyon
  • Explore the 16th-century stone walls of Dubrovnik's Lovrijenac and Revelin fortresses

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Split! Split
Day 2 Day Trip to Krka National Park & Šibenik Split
Day 3 Rafting, Zip-lining, & Canyoning on Cetina River Split
Day 4 Ferry from Split to Hvar Hvar Town
Day 5 Hike to the Hidden Villages of Hvar Hvar Town
Day 6 Ferry from Hvar to Dubrovnik Dubrovnik
Day 7 Cycle through Konavle Wine Country Dubrovnik
Day 8 Depart Dubrovnik  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Split!

Split
Split

From the airport, it's a short (45-minute) drive to the center of Split. Depending on your arrival time, check into your hotel and take the rest of the day to explore the historic port city on your own. 

Founded 1,700 years ago by Roman emperor Diocletian, Split's Old Town consists of a number of impressive sites, including Peristyle, Cathedral of St. Dominus, and Diocletian's Palace, one of the best-preserved Roman buildings in the world. Start in Peristyle Square, taking in the 3,500-year-old sphinxes Diocletian brought back from Egypt before exploring the 4th-century complex. From there, pass through the Iron Gate and into Pjaca Square for pretty views of white marble tiles, a Romanesque clock tower with the remains of a medieval sundial, and the 15th-century Town Hall

In the evening, take a stroll along Split's seafront Riva to admire the waterfront views before finding the off-beat Konoba Dioklecijan restaurant, just to the left of the Bronze Gate for a bite to eat, its outdoor terrace built into the walls of Diocletian's Palace.

Day 2: Day Trip to Krka National Park & Šibenik

Krka National Park
Krka National Park

Krka National Park is just over an hour's drive away from Split and is a nice place to visit in the morning before the crowds arrive (it's one of Croatia's most popular national parks, established in 1985). You can explore Krka on your own by foot or by rental bike, choosing from a number of trails (the shortest being a mile-long or 2 km boardwalk through waterfalls and small lakes).

Try to visit a couple of sections of the park, including Skradinski Buk, the largest waterfall in the park. After Skradinski Buk, head to Roški Slap, where you can take a short walk across the river to a small set of rapids said to resemble a pearl neckless from above. At Roški Slap, there's a restaurant that serves locally produced prosciutto, cheese, and seasonal salads. Besides waterfalls, the park is also well known for its multiple endemic species of birds, fish, and amphibians. 

After spending the morning in Krka, head to the coastal town of Šibenik for the afternoon. A true Croatian town founded by the Croat king Petar Krešimir IV in the 11th century, Šibenik's is home to impressive fortresses, music festivals, and medieval gardens. Start with a visit to the famous St. James' Cathedral, a UNESCO protected site for good reason, before selecting a restaurant for your dinner—perhaps Pelegrini, a restaurant and wine bar just above the cathedral. Return to Split in the evening.

Driving time (Split to Krka National Park): 1 hour
Driving time (Krka National Park to Šibenik): 20 minutes
Driving time (Šibenik to Split): 1.5 hours

Day 3: Rafting, Zip-lining, & Canyoning on Cetina River

Zip your way across the Cetina River canyon
Zip your way across the Cetina River canyon

You'll get an early start this morning to drive south along the coast to Zadvarje for a day of rafting and canyoning the Cetina River, ending with the option to zip-line in Omiš. 

You'll begin with rafting in a protected area of the river canyon popular with tourists every summer. The quiet parts of the river, as well as the second and third-grade rapids, create the perfect combination of relaxation with high-adrenaline adventure over the course of three hours. Next, you'll meet your guide and change into your gear (wetsuit, life vest, and helmet) to hike, climb, slide, swim, and cliff jump (optional) your way down the river until you reach Omiš. Celebrate the fun with a break for lunch, before taking the early afternoon to zip-line over the Cetina.

After lunch, you'll experience a true adrenaline rush. You'll have the chance to zip your way across the magnificent Cetina River Canyon suspended by a harness and wire. There are eight wires in total running a length of 6,890 feet (2,100 m), the highest wire reaching 492 feet (150 m) above the river canyon. Enjoy incredible bird’s eye views of the surrounding scenery on this three-hour excursion.

After the tour is complete, you'll transfer back to Split.

Driving time (Split to Zadvarje): 1 hour
Driving time (Omiš to Split): 45 minutes

Day 4: Ferry from Split to Hvar

Hvar and the Pakleni Islands in the distance
Hvar and the Pakleni Islands in the distance

This morning, catch the ferry to the island of Hvar and check into your hotel. A Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea, Hvar is a popular destination with tourists due to its natural setting, mild climate, and its historic port town of the same name. Highlights of Hvar Town include its 13th-century walls, a hilltop fortress, and the main square anchored by the Renaissance-era Cathedral.  

For some of the best views of the island, Hvar Town, and the nearby Pakleni Islands take a short walk up to the 16th-century Španjola Fortress. Or, join a kayaking tour and head out on the Adriatic to discover the many secluded coves that outline the islands. To cover some ground and appreciate the variation in island landscape: from lavender plantations and olive groves to vineyards and pine woods, you may like to join a (wine tasting) cycling or hiking tour. The less active might opt to rent a scooter for faster coverage of the local scenery.

After the day's adventures, treat yourself to a drink in the ancient piazza of Hvar overlooking the Venetian loggia, 7th-century fortification walls, and the oldest municipal theater in Europe.

Ferry time: 1.5-2 hours

Day 5: Hike to the Hidden Villages of Hvar

Hike through island vegetation and see more of Hvar
Hike through island vegetation and see more of Hvar

Lace up your hiking boots for a day hike along rocky paths amid vineyards and olive groves to discover abandoned villages and hidden bays.

You'll meet your guide in Hvar town's port and transfer to Velo Grablje, the starting point of the hike (about 8.5 miles or 14 km away). Velo Grablje was founded 500 years ago when Hvar’s patricians and nobles sought refuge in the hills during a revolutionary period. Today, only a few people inhabit the village throughout the year, but many gather for the lavender festival to harvest and to celebrate the village's saints.

From here you will hike down a canyon, following an old trail—the main thoroughfare in medieval times connecting the north and the south of the island—to the village of Malo Grablje. Enjoy a delicious lunch at perhaps the most authentic of the island's taverns before carrying on the gravel road to the beachside town of Milna.

Depending on your energy level, you will have the option to continue your trek to Hvar Town from Milna (1.5 hours) or transfer back to town (20 minutes).

Hiking distance: 3.4 miles (5.4 km)
Hiking time (including stops): 5-6 hours

Day 6: Ferry from Hvar to Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik's old city walls
Dubrovnik's old city walls

After breakfast, board the morning ferry to Dubrovnik.

Often referred to as the "Pearl of the Adriatic," Dubrovnik is a world-renowned city of exceptional charm. Take some time to explore its 16th-century stone walls, including the Minceta, Lovrijenac and Revelin fortresses, visit Onofrio's Fountain and the Church of Saint Blaise (St. Vlaho), and stroll along the limestone-paved Stradun, Dubrovnik's main street to get your bearings. Dubrovnik also offers excellent nightlife and some of Croatia's best restaurants and wine bars. 

The remainder of the day will be at your leisure, allowing time for you to wander and explore this magical city. Depending on when you arrive, you may have time to hop aboard a cable car and ride to the top of Srđ Mountain for stunning views of Dubrovnik and the nearby Elafiti Islands. Here you can explore the 19th-century Fort Imperijal  (built during the Napoleonic Wars) before stretching your legs and walking back down the hill, enjoying views of the city below.

Ferry time (Hvar to Dubrovnik): 3.5 hours

Day 7: Cycle through Konavle Wine Country

Waterfront town of Cavtat, Konavle
Waterfront town of Cavtat, Konavle

This morning you'll meet your driver to transfer to a starting point in Konavle, a famous wine region south of Dubrovnik. Here, you'll switch gears and hop on your bike to spend the day cycling through small villages and valleys. For lunch, your guide will lead you to a restaurant on the Ljuta river where you'll have the opportunity to participate in sampling local brandies. Afterward, continue biking past orchards, vineyards, and farms and get a real sense of Konavle country before returning to Dubrovnik in the late afternoon.

Driving time (Dubrovnik to Konavle): 30 minutes

Day 8: Depart Dubrovnik

Rector's Palace
Rector's Palace

Depending on when you depart, you may have time to visit one of Dubrovnik's museums, like the Franciscan Monastery and Museum. This large complex houses many treasures, including the world's third oldest pharmacy dating from 1317.

Alternatively, for a collection of 15,000 pieces of interesting works, visit the Rector's Palace and Cultural Historical Museum. Wander this well-preserved palace-turned-museum and explore its exhibits, some detailing life in the Republic of Ragusa during medieval times.

The drive to the airport from Dubrovnik takes around 45 minutes with normal traffic.